MANHATTAN — Bill Snyder's latest recruiting class at Kansas State will be viewed as a group of football players that instills hope for the future because of its connections to the past.
Justin Tuggle, a highly-regarded duel-threat quarterback, joins the Wildcats after spending time at Blinn Community College, the same junior college that produced Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and former K-State great Michael Bishop.
Ian Seau, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end, is the nephew of former NFL standout Junior Seau. And Tyler Lockett, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound wide out, is related to two of the best wide receivers to play for the Wildcats.
His father, Kevin, is the program's all-time leader in several categories, including receptions (217), receiving yards (3,032) and receiving touchdowns (26). His uncle, Aaron, piled up 2,400 yards and 14 touchdowns on 137 catches and was one of the most electric kick returners Snyder has coached.
"If I'm K-State, knowing what my needs were, I have to be pretty excited today,” said Jeremy Crabtree, ESPN’s senior coordinator of recruiting. “They went out and took a significant step forward. They got a lot of guys who will be a threat to play right away at some key positions."
K-State recruits’ commitments will be made official today on national signing day.
"I really look forward to working with receivers coach Michael Smith," Tyler Lockett said. "He worked with my dad and my uncle and helped them get to the NFL. Maybe he can do the same for me.
"All I know is, I'm going to have to work harder than I ever have before. A lot of people know my family background, and I can't slack off if I want to get to where I want to be. I have to go up there, give 110 percent and do whatever I can do to help the team. As long as I do that, and try not to think about how my dad did this or my uncle did that, everything is going to fall into place."
K-State certainly hopes so. Lockett said he hopes to redshirt his first season and concentrate on adding muscle, but several players will be asked to contribute right away.
Quarterback Daniel Sams from Slidell, La., and offensive lineman Cody Whitehair of Abilene are full of potential.
And, as usual, Snyder and his coaching staff have targeted the junior-college ranks to fill their immediate needs — many of them are on defensive side of the ball. The Wildcats' defense was one of the nation's worst against the run last season, allowing more than 229 yards per game, and K-State is expected to add six defensive linemen today.
Seau, a three-star prospect, is seen as the prize recruit of the bunch.
"For K-State to get Seau is a pretty significant pick-up at a position of need,” Crabtree said. “He can end up being a great defensive end. He's got a tremendous upside about him, a good first step and good quickness. He can be extremely disruptive."
But the Wildcats are also in the running for four-star defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds, a 6-foot-2, 281-pound prospect from Washington, D.C. He will make a decision today between K-State, Syracuse, UCLA and Mississippi State.
"I think we have a great recruiting class coming in," Tyler Lockett said. "I have met a lot of the players and am looking forward to playing with them."